Saturday, March 31, 2012

A for...

Left to me I would say 'Arathi'... I mean 'A for Arathi'... But here... 'Alibi' would be a better word... 'A for Alibi'...the book that I recently finished reading... A book by Sue Grafton! :-)

Even before I decided to read this book, I heard a lot about the author... Her way of writing... And also her unique way of naming her novels... by letters of Alphabet... I was curious and wanted to read her novels... The best way to start was at the beginning... That's why I selected 'A for Alibi'. :-)

In the book, the narrator is a private investigator... I loved the way she introduces herself in the novel... It is like she is answering the interview question: "Tell me about yourself." :-)

I did not find the novel as interesting as Sherlock Holmes or Hercules Poirot... However, it held my attention till the end... May be because it was her first novel that I read... may be I am still getting used to her way of writing... I will read her next novel "B for Burglar" and will have more to say...

Now it's time for an Agatha Christie mystery... Happy Reading to me... and may be to you too! :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grocery Bag

Recently for my parents' wedding anniversary, I thought of making them matching grocery bags. These are simple shoulder bags made with fabric alone, without any batting. 

These are so simple to make.

First I cut basic pieces for one front, one back with flap, long strips for the strap and sides and some brown bias tape. 

I joined attached the bias tape to the flap (the trapezium portion of the fabric) as shown below. I also folded and stitched one edge of the square fabric.

With wrong sides together, I joined the front piece with the long strip that formed the side of the bag as well as it's strap(shown left in the below picture) .

Then I joined the front to the other side of the strap.

The I attached the bias tape to the raw edges of the long strips. That's it the bag is ready for use.

The best thing about this bag is: Even without sewing any separate lining, there are no fray edges in the interior of the bag! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dragonfly - Needleturn Applique

I picked up a quilting DVD from our library. It was about Needleturn Applique technique. It had even paper pattern that could trace and use for the project. 

I am so happy with the way it has turned out. The blind stitches came out almost perfect.

I even quilted the top with some straight stitches... Neat and Nice, eh? :-)

The borders also came out good... Wow! I surprised myself with this one! :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Squirrels in our Balcony

There is one part of our house that has not been cleaned since last summer... We think of doing it but find some excuse or the other not to clean it... like it's cold or windy or raining or it's sunny (we prefer going for a long walk on sunny days!).... 

This place... our balcony... or patio, as it is called in the US,  is filled with dry leaves, twigs and branches... The two chairs and one table are covered in dust... There is a kitchen mat waiting to be freshened and taken back into the kitchen... There is also a dust-covered drying rack. Our bicycle also stood here before it got stolen... We can see almost the whole of our balcony through our living room glass door/window.

I love to watch our balcony. Even though it may seem untidy for us, humans, it is a fun place for lot of other beings. Everyday some activity or the other takes place here. The birds come to pick twigs for their nests... I love it when the squirrels come. It is their play area. They first come in and sniff around... probably to see if there is anything to eat... then they run all over the place... jumping onto the chair's backrest from the table... from the chair to the railing of the balcony... then to the drying rack... under the table... they do not leave any place untouched! 

Once a squirrel even tried to pull the doormat and take it away with him. I went near the window and started talking with him as though he could understand me. I said, "Leave that alone!" in a sharp tone. He backed off a little and observed me from a distance. Then he came closer and closer till he reached the glass door (the door was shut...) and put his paw on it and stood on his hind legs and looked at me. I watched him silently. Then again he tried to tug at the doormat and I told him not to. He moved away but did not leave the balcony. As long as he did not touch the doormat, I did not shoo him or talk to him. In fact I enjoyed watching him run around our balcony...

Last evening the squirrel got a playmate along... (I keep thinking it is the same squirrel who visits us everyday... I can't be 100% sure though! :-D) Both the squirrels played 'catch' on our balcony... It was so joyful to watch them play... I just could not take my eyes off them... But I had to look disinterested, else they would run away! ;-)

We need not search for happiness... Happiness comes in bundles of little surprises like these day after day... We just need to keep our eyes open! :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shaded Four Patch - A correction

A little thing that I learnt this evening... The quilt that I referred to in my last post uses Shaded Four Patch block! :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Phew! The quilt is done!

After my "Trip Around the World"(not an actual trip around the world... but I am referring to my quilt here... :D),  I immediately started on another quilt. This time I wanted to do a bigger quilt with lot of half-square triangles. As the arm of my sewing machine is short and I cannot imagine hand-stitching the whole quilt, I decided I would make the quilt piece by piece. I read up a book on lap quilting and thought it was the perfect thing to do.

The instructions in the website are very clear and I loved the pattern. I made all the blocks in a weekend. Now came the task of joining all three layers together, piece by piece. My oh my! The quilt felt so heavy to move it on my sewing machine. 

Meanwhile there were so many other projects in the pipeline. When I would get time to sew, I would prefer take up a new project rather than work on the quilt. This went on and on until I could not bear to look at the half-finished quilt. I had to finish it and get going with other things! And phew! It got done! :-)

Want a peek inside? Here! ;-)

Shall we see some more of the quilt? ;-)

I know... I know... I must be irritating you with my silly jokes... Here it is... The complete quilt that was attached piece by piece...

Here are some close up snaps too!


Like it? Oh I love it! I know it is not perfect. At some places, some valleys were formed where the batting got stretched a little. But I am quite relieved to complete this. It gives me more time to do new things... like a fabric tote... more about it in coming posts! :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Old Days - Hand Writing

I recall those school days when we had cursive writing books and a special period/class for cursive handwriting. The cursive handwriting books had four-ruled pages. The first line in every page was a sentence printed in cursive writing. We tried our best to copy the hand-writing onto every line of that page. Some of us would write all the first words first throughout the page, then write the second words and so on... Some others would write sentence by sentence. We had extra marks/points for good handwriting.

I love cursive writing because it looks so beautiful and we can write the entire word.. almost... without lifting the pen/pencil off the paper. 

We would compare hand-writings and try to infer what it tells about the personality of the writer. For example, very large writing means the person needs attention and very  small handwriting means the person lacks self-confidence or may suffer from inferiority complex. Then, we would also observe the slants of writing. Some people have letters slanting to the right, which means they are excited about their future. The handwriting with letters slanting to the left means the person is caught in the past. An upright handwriting does not reveal any such quality! 

If a person wrote their "I"s always in lowercase like 'i like reading' instead of 'I like reading', the person lacks self-confidence. There were lot of other things we noticed like... using a small circle instead of dot on top of i's and j's... having large word to word spacing... or having narrower words... I don't remember what those mean though...

All this handwriting analysis may not be true at all; but it was a fun way to spend time and it was as interesting as reading people's palms. We do not know anything about palmistry, but as children we wanted to show off that we knew a lot of things... You know what I mean! :-)

We would also observe each others' signatures. The more illegible the signature is, the more the person is hiding his/her true nature. A person whose signature bears close resemblance to their name indicates that the person is honest. That's what we thought! Those were the days when we were still trying out new signatures and evaluating which one we wanted to use for the rest of our lives! :-)

This morning when I started writing... I mean actual writing on a paper... I realized how ugly my handwriting has become... It was more like a scribble... 

These computers have spoiled us so much that we hardly have any need to use pen and paper except for jotting down our shopping list... I don't even know if I will understand what I have written... It is so bad... My n's and m's are similar... The first few letters of the word are legible but the rest is like a running trail of thread... It's like I am in a rush to complete the word... the sentence... Oh my God! I cannot believe myself that I could forget how to write! I am thinking of practising to write. It may sound silly. But I should do it. I do not want anyone to see me write like this!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

To-Do list

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the pending items list... Not that I have one... I mean I do have a mental-list but I do not put that down on paper... The things I have to buy.. Things I need to sew... Things I need to make... The cleaning stuff I need to do at home...  The book need to read... The courtesy calls I need to make... The letters/emails I need to write... The list goes on and on...

And when I am working on one thing, I get so many thoughts about the other items on my to-do list. I stop what I am doing and start working on another pending item... And while I am on it, I remember I have something else to complete... This goes on and on till the day wears out or I quit exhausted!

Most of my weekends are spent like this... It is just so exhausting! I wish I was more efficient in managing my time or had more hours in the day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mesh Organizer

Our grocery (the one we go to) sells oranges and lemons in mesh bags. I wanted to find a way to reuse this mesh material... And the perfect way to do that was to make a mesh organizer for our closet. 

I used the same pattern as that of the shoes-holder. The only difference is I used some batting for the backing of the mesh organizer. I used a decorative stitch (curvy stitch) for basting the fabric with the batting.

I used the mesh material for the pockets.

I glued a bird cutout from some scrap fabric onto the mesh pocket.

I am using this mesh organizer for our socks and gloves. I have hung it on the inside of our closet door.

Phew! Another pending item is off my list now! :-)